Photobucket Photobucket Therapy dogs spread happiness, love, and cheer to people who otherwise might be lonely, sad or slow to heal. This is the journey of Cayman, a longhair miniature dachshund and his journey and experiences visiting becoming a therapy dog.

Did you know that pet visits often spark good memories of a person's own pets? Dogs often can reach people and children who have withdrawn from the world. It's been suggested by science that petting a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and stress, and promote healing.



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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

PAWS Ministry

Last Saturday we took Cayman to the 8th Annual Pet Fest sponsored by our county animal services. There was a lot of vendors and contests and raffles going on but what caught my attention the most was a big sign that said PAWS Ministry Therapy Dogs. Therapy dogs! The representative explained that t his organization has the pets do the ministry work by taking the pets to local nursing homes the 1st Saturday of each month to share the love of Jesus and our pets. Pets must pass a Temperament Testing but there was no age requirement like most other therapy dog organizations. And all that is required in the temperment test, Cayman could do no problem. I am very excited to possibly get Cayman's feet wet in therapy work as soon as possible and without an age requirement, this seems like the perfect opportunity. The only that would stand in our way is that Saturdays are tough for me, since its the only day my husband and daughter and I get to spend as a family since we both work full time. And our daughter has a Kindermusik class on Saturday mornings. But I did send a really nice email to the coordinator two days ago but have yet to get a reply back. Hmm. Perhaps I should just call the coordinator.... anyhow, here is a copy of the letter. I think it's pretty good myself! Hopefully we will be able to work something out! :)

PAWS Ministry Applicant

Shawna Eugenio-Laufer Sun, Nov 2, 2008 at 4:01 PM
I would first off like to thank your representatives for a very welcoming booth held at the 8th Annual Pet Fest in Ft Myers this past Saturday. I do not remember the name of the woman I spoke with that day but she was very friendly and made the PAWS Ministry program sound the perfect jumping off point in the long and rewarding journey of therapy work with my 6 month old miniature longhair dachshund puppy, Cayman.

Cayman graduated the Petco Puppy Education class with flying colors in September and we are looking forward to continuing his training to make him the very best dog we know he can be. We are currently taking a break from the professional training for the holiday season but will be attending a basic obedience class which includes the testing requirement training for the Canine Good Citizen certification in January (Dog Obedience Club of Lee County).

We are also on a waiting list for opportunities for therapy work through United Way's many organizations and hope to become members of the Delta Society as well as the Therapy Dogs Inc. Because of his young age, many of these opportunities are not available to us until after Cayman is a year old but we would love to begin working with him as much as possible now, so when he does hit that 12 month of age mark, we are ahead of the game! From my understanding when speaking to your rep, she explained that we could begin working with him in your program as soon as possible, granted he pass that temperament test. I have full confidence that we should have very little issue accomplishing that! Cayman has already been exposed to people with walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters and has shown little interest in them, which is a positive thing since many dogs display fear or aggression to these unknown objects.

He is also raised with a two year old so he is used to children. We try to make it out to the local dog park whenever possible (and plan to have many more opportunities with this cooling weather) to further expose him to other dogs. We have two other dogs and a cat in our house as well. The only thing that might raise a concern is with other dogs- he is still in puppy hood so every other dog he comes into contact with is a potencial playmate! There is absolutely no aggression in this very happy-go-lucky pup! As well as having an amazing disposition, Cayman is current with all vaccinations, is licensed, and neutered. He is groomed daily, bathed weekly so he always looks his best. Since he has such a wonderful personality and is so well behaved, we tend to bring him with us where ever dogs are permitted to further expose him to unusual and unfamiliar settings.

With all these things considered, and his natural affection to all things on two or more legs, I feel we have a very potential and successful therapy dog here. I would be honored and delighted to share the joy Cayman gives me to others through the PAWS Ministry. I would like to arrange a temperment testing as soon as possible. I am aware that the next temperament test is Saturday, November 15th. Unfortunately, I am unavailable Saturdays until after noon since my husband, Nils, and I have enrolled our two year old daughter in a music class and would like to inquire if there is another date, Sundays for example, or other time frame in which this could be arranged.I would also appreciate any additional information regarding this program such as visitation of patient locations and hours, as started before, Saturdays are rather difficult for us since, as full time working parents, it is the one day we can spend together as a family. I am available Sundays however!

Thank you in advance for your consideration in the PAWS Ministry. I do look forward to hearing a reply back from you. I have included some recent pictures of Cayman as well.

-Shawna Eugenio-Laufer

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